tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 20, 2013 5:00pm-7:01pm EST
the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, i would renew my request that was just denied. i would also add to that that i be recognized at 7:30. the presiding officer: is there objection? so ordered.
mr. president. it's with pride and humility i thank my colleagues for passing senate bill 381 last night. once passed by the house and signed by the president this will bill award congressional gold medals to the surviving world war ii heroes we know as the doolittle tokyo raiders. the effort to pass this bill has been a personal one for me. i thank 78 of my colleagues who have cosponsored the resolution. it proves the senate can reach consensus recognizing the service of men and women who have worn our nation's uniform. i want to thank secretary boozman who is my original republican counterpart in introducing this bill in february, also original cosponsor senators murray and baucus and tester and nelson and cantwell and schatz, original cosponsors. i wish that senator law-abiding had -- lautenberg, the last world war ii veteran in the senate, i wish he were here
today to see its passage. a special thanks to senator cornyn for his work on in and especially senator ayotte. they have my personal thanks for helping to bring so many republicans to sponsor this bill with us. many of you know the story of the doolittle raids. 71 years ago, following the attack of pearl harbor just four months earlier, 80 brave american airmen launched a mission that would become our nation's first offensive action against japanese soil in the second world war. they volunteered for what was called an extremely hazardous mission without knowing at the time what it actually entailed. under the leadership of lieutenant colonel james doolittle, the raid involved launching 16 u.s. army air corps b-25 mitchell bombers from the deck of the u.s.s. hornet, a feat that had never been attempted in combat before. on april 18, 1942 -- again, just a few months after pearl
harbor -- 650 miles from its target the hornet encountered japanese ships. fearing the mission might be compromised the raiders decided to launch 170 miles earlier than anticipated. these men accepted the risk that they might have -- not have enough fuel to make it safely beyond japanese occupied china. the consequences meant the raiders would almost certainly have to crash land or bail out either above japanese occupied china or over the home islands of japan. any survivors would certainly be subjected to imprisonment or torture or death. after reaching their targets, 15 of the bombers continued to china, the 16th dangerously low on fuel headed to russia. the total distance traveled by the raiders averaged 2,250 nautical miles over a period of 13 hours making it the longest combat mission ever flown in a
b-25 during the war. of the 80 raiders who launches that day, eight were captured. of those eight prisoners, three were executed, one died of disease, four survived as prisoners of war and returned home after the war. the doolittle raid was a turning point for the pacific theater and set the stage for the allied victory. of the original 80 raiders, four survive today. a raider from cincinnati and in my home state, major tom griffin, passed away on february 26 of this year, the very night i introduced s. 381. major griffin was the navigator for plane number nine, the whirling dervish on the doolittle raid. he survived the mission and continued to fly until he was shot down? 1943 and held as a german pow for two years. when the war ended major griffin returned home to 0 cincinnati, later owned his own accounting business. like our veterans past and present he asked for nothing, these veterans served simply
because their nation asked. for many years the surviving raiders gathered to celebrate the mission and honor departed fellow raiders. this year's devastation intraition was bittersweet, it was their final reunion, they decided. all the remaining raiders are in their 90's, it's hard for them to make the annual trip. so it was decided this would be their final reunion. this is an article, mr. president, a story in the plain dealer in cleveland of the final reunion which took place in dayton, ohio. the three remaining survivors who could make their trip, four still living, only three could make it, called out here as an historian read the roll call. they then raised a goblet inscribed with their names, toasted fellow raiders with a bottle of 1896 congac, a commander jimmy doolittle passed down for the final toast. 76 other goblets were turned upside down, one for each
comrade who passed away. hundreds of people watched the solemn ceremony to offer their respects, speaker boehner whose district is nearby, dayton ohio, sent a letter in honor of the occasion. an associated press article, a 12-year-old boy whose grandparents brought him to the event said -- quote -- "i felt like i owed them a few short hours of the thousands of hours i will be on this earth." this journey started two years ago when brian anderson the agent gget sgget at arms for the doolittle tokyo raider association approached my office seeking a proclamation for the 70th anniversary of that raid. we achieved that goal passing senate resolution 418 by unanimous consent but that wasn't enough for brian, it wasn't enough to honor these men and what they had accomplished. we set our goal for awarding the congressional gold medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by congress, limited to two a year in this body to the raiders. the honor -- this honor is
designated who performed an achievement that has an impact on american history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement. these veterans meet that description. they exemplify our highest ideals of courage and service. they deserve to be recognized. president kennedy said a nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces by by the men it honors and the men it re remembers. we our nation honor those who serve, i call on the house and i call on the speaker to quickly act on this legislation sitting in the chamber today is a senator, the senator from texas, the senior senator from texas who played a major role with senator ayotte and others in gathering cosponsors for this congressional medal of honor. i thank senator cornyn for his work on this and, mr. president, i yield the floor.
the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i want to turn the compliment around and extend my appreciation to the senator from ohio, senator brown, for his leadership on this issue. this is long overdue to these great american patriots, the recognition that they so justly earned. mr. president, turning to another subject i'd ask unanimous consent that jason church, a military fellow in senator ron johnson's office be granted floor privileges for the duration of the consideration of s. 1197, the national defense authorization act. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, four years ago an islamic radical who identified with al qaeda and supported the cause of global jihad opened fire at fort hood army base in texas. the shooter eventually killed 12 soldiers and one civilian while
wounding 30 others. he might have killed and wounded or wounded many more, but for the selflessness of a civilian physician's assistant by the name of michael cahill and an army captain named john gaffeney both who are charged the gunman and gave their lives in order to save the lives of others. four years later, we continue to honor the tremendous sacrifice -- their tremendous sacrifice and we continue to honor the memories of all those who gave their lives or were injured on that awful day. back in august, the fort worth shooter was sentenced to death for his crime, and appropriately so. let me be clear about what the nature of this crime was. this was not an ordinary criminal event. this was a terrorist attack. plain and simple.
committed by a man who had reportedly had at least 20 different email communications with a senior al qaeda figure by the name of anwar al-awlaki. the late mr. awlaki who was killed by u.s. drone strike in september, 2011, also had contacts well documented with the so-called underwear bomber who tried to blow up northwest airlines flight 253 just seven weeks after the massacre at fort hood. following the fort hood attack, awlaki celebrated the shooter as a hero, he called him. he also told al-jazeera that prior to the attack the gunman had specifically asked him whether islamic law justified -- quote -- "killing u.s. soldiers and officers" -- close quote. the fort hood shooter had
repeatedliedly and unapologetically said that his terrible atrocities which included execution style murders were just part of a larger jihad against the west, which is why he shouted ala akbar just before opening fire. the shooter has said that by slaughtering 13 americans, including 12 uniform military members and one civilian, he said he was defending the islamic empire and helping my muslim brothers. in short, the fort hood massacre was not an episode of workplace violence. this was a terrorist attack inspired by terrorist propaganda and carried out by someone who was an agent of al qaeda. and viewed himself as an al qaeda holy warrior.
unfortunately, the united states government so far has refused to give the kind of recognition that is deserved to the 12 uniform service members who gave their life and those who were injured on that terrible day. part of that recognition should include purple hearts to the soldiers who lost hear lives and not given the civilian equivalent, the medal for the defense of freedom, to michael cayhill. so far the united states government, its official position is, this is not a terrorist attack on our own soil. but so far the position of the federal government is that this is an ordinary criminal attack. mr. president, that cannot stand. we cannot denigrate the service of those military members who lost their lives that day and this civilian hero, michael
cayhill, who lost his life, by saying this is somehow just workplace violence or some criminal attack. we need to recognize officially that this was a terrorist attack, inspired by an agent of al qaeda, carried out by another agent of al qaeda on our own soil. now, some will tell you that purple hearts can be awarded to victims of a terrorist attack, only if the perpetrators of that attack were acting under the direction of a foreign terrorist organization. and in their view, the fort hood shooter doesn't qualify. well, this account fails -- this argument fails to take into account the evolving nature of the conflict, the global war on terrorism. after all, al qaeda leader al zawahiri -- at the boston
marathon in 2013. zawahiri believes that such "dispersed," small-scale attacks will -- quote -- "keep america in a state of tension and anticipation" -- close quote. as he declared a few months ago, he said, these dispersed attacks can be carried out by one brother or a small number of brothers. in other words, it doesn't make any sense to distinguish so-called lone wolf terrorists acting on behalf of al qaeda from other terrorists with a more explicit al qaeda affiliation. remember, al qaeda doesn't issue business cards or calling cards, and it doesn't issue its staff i.d.'s. what it does do is urge islamic radicals around the world to pick up arms and kill americans.
that's what major hasan did that terrible day at fort hood in caline, texas. al qaeda views american soil as a primary battleground in its war against western civilization. when courageous members of our military lose their lives to al qaeda-inspired terrorists, whether it is abroad or here at home, they deserve to receive purple hearts, and their grieving families deserve to receive the proper benefits accorded to all men and women in our military who lose their lives in service to their country. it shouldn't matter whether they lose their lives in america, whether it's in new york on 9/ 9/11, colline, texas, four years ago, or whether it is on the battlefield in afghanistan. it shouldn't make any
difference. when they lose their life as part of the effort to protect innocent life in the war on terrorism. if they're killed by a terrorist committing violence on behalf of foreign jihadists, then they are casualties of the broader war on terrorism, and they deserve to be treated as such. earlier this year i introduced legislation that would make the fort hood victims eligible for all of the honors and benefits available to their fellow u.s. service members serving overseas in combat zones. my cosponsors in the house are representatives carter and williams, and they have numerous cosponsors in the house, and today i'm offering a modified version of that legislation as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. by enacting this amendment,
congress would honor the memories of those whot their lives at fort hood, and it would help their surviving family members, all of whom, as u can imagine, have experienced tremendous pain and hardship as a result of this terrorist act on our own soil four years ago at fort hood, colline, texas, at the hand of major hasan, someone who deserves the penalty of death that's been meted out by a military jury just a few weeks ago. mr. president, i hope that the senate will rise up in a bipartisan way and pass this important legislation and erase these meaningless distinctions which differentiate between those who lose their lives in afghanistan and those who lose their lives here on american soil. it's a just and well-deserved
honor that these patriots have earned by their own blood, and these families deserve as a way of ameliorating the terrible loss they have suffered in their own service to our country. mr. president, i yield the floor. mrs. shaheen: mada mr. presiden? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: thank you. i rise to discuss the national defense authorization act and to highlight some of the many provisions in this legislation that are critical, as we think about our national security and the future of our military. i chair the readiness subcommittee, and i understand that one of the chief challenges that faces our military is readiness. the effects of nearly ten years
of warfare on our equipment and personnel, coupled with the sharp budget reductions under sequestration, have made it more difficult for our nation's military leaders to prepare our forces for combat. during our markup of the readiness subcommittee sections of this bill, i was pleased to work with my colleague from new hampshire, the ranking member of the readiness subcommittee, senator ayotte, to move more than $1.5 billion from low-priority military construction projects into critical operations and maintenance accounts for each of our military services. this move will help mitigate the worst effects of sequestration on readiness. it obviously isn't going to address the whole problem. we've got a lot more work to do. but our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line for us, and we need to keep the commitment that we have made that they should have the best possible training and
best-available equipment before we send them into combat. i was also pleased to work with senators mccain, leahy and grassley to include a one-year extension of the special immigrant visa programs for both iraq and afghanistan. special immigrant visas allow afghans and iraqis who work directly for the united states government, work directly with our men and women on the ground. it helps them come to the united states if their lives are in danger as a result of their service. we've heard countless stories of how these brave men and women risked their lives to help our men and women, to help drive out violent extremists from their home countries of iraq and afghanistan. and as we wind down our military operations, we have a responsibility to ensure that those who are in danger as a result of their faithful service to the united states, to make
sure that they are protected from harm. many of us are now familiar with one of these stories that has been much-publicized, the story of u.s. soldier matt zeller and his afghan interpreter janice shinwari, who served the united states government for over nine years in afghanistan. during an attack in 2009, shinwari not only pulled zeller out of a kill zone to safety, he also shot two members of the taliban who were sneaking up behind them. in doing that he saved zeller's life. following the incident, shinwari was put on a taliban kill list. after many months and really years of waiting, both zeller and shinwari recently reunited here in the united states, thanks to the special immigrant visa program. i had the opportunity with
senator mccain to meet with the two of them in my office several weeks ago. i heard matt zeller say that janice shinwari is his brother and how grateful he is for saving zeller's life but also for all of the other members of his unit who were helped by shinwari. these stories are incredibly common, and i am grateful to all of our colleagues here for their assistance in reauthorizing this program, not just through the ndaa bill that's before us but the short-term extension that we were able to get during the government shutdown by unanimous consent in both the senate and the house. it shows just how much we appreciate in america the service that these men and women from iraq and afghanistan have given to us.
the bill before us also includes provisions from the next-generation cooperative threat reduction act, which i introduced earlier this year. the nunn-lugar cooperative threat reduction act is the most successful nonproliferation program in our country's history. and the language in the underlying bill would expand the scope of nunn-lugar to reflect the current security environment. specifically, the bill requires the president to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the rapidly growing threat of proliferation across the middle east and north afri africa. the spread of nuclear weapons is one of the gravest threats we face, both in the united states and across the international community. we need to ensure that our efforts to combat those challenges are coordinated and that they reflect where the current security challenges
really exist. i'm also pleased that we were able to increase funding in this bill for the department of defense's inspectors general by $35 million. and this is important because investment in our nation's inspectors general continues to be one of the most cost-effective things the government can do, particularly when it concerns the department of defense. in 2012, d.o.d. inspectors general saved taxpayers more than $3.6 billion, and inspector general's have been credited were nearly $11 billion for every dollar spent. as the presiding officer knows, given our ongoing fiscal challenges, it is now more important than ever before that we ensure that every dollar is spent effectively. finally, mr. president, i want to address the issue of military
sexual assault that is tackled in this ndaa defense act. because it makes significant progress towards addressing the progress of sexual assault in our nation's military. i commend all of the members of the armed services committee who worked so tirelessly to address this issue, but i want to particularly call out senators mccaskill and gillibrand who have really led the charge and worked to help ensure that we include provisions in this act that can address the scourge on our military. because of their leadership, we're going to pass a bill that will take historic steps towards addressing this problem. and while, as you and i know, we may have had different ideas about the best way to address the problem, we are united in our commitment to victims of sexual assault, and we will keep fighting for them.
now, i certainly look afford to supporting the gillibrand amendment, the military justice improvement act, along with the presiding officer, because it addresses chain-of-command issues that i believe can cause victims of sexual assault in the military to refrain from reporting an incident because they fear either that nothing will be done or that there will be retaliation from their commanders. but regardless of the outcome of that legislation, it is important to reflect on the provisions that are already included in this bill. because the bill before us today includes nearly 30 provisions that address sexual assault, prevention, investigation, and prosecution procedures at the department of dwents. -- at the department of defense. almost all of these provisions were grade t agreed to unanimoun
the committee. strong sexual assault reforms like those included in this bill send a powerful message to all of the members of our military, including tens of thousands of victims, many of whom have been suffering quietly for decades, that what happened to them is unacceptable and it will no longer be tolerated. one of the critical challenges we face in the military is changing the culture surrounding sexual assault. i was pleased to work with our colleagues to include provisions in the bill to help create an environment where victims can feel safe to come forward and report these crimes. and in any organization, the best way to attract the most qualified personnel is to tie an issue to career advancement. sexual assault prevention and response is no different. that's why senator fisher and i included language that elevates the role of sexual assault
prevention response officers to ensure that we have the highest caliber candidates assigned to those positions. also in recent months i've held round table discussions with new hampshire law enforcement officers, with members of our university of new hampshire community who have worked on sexual assault prevention and with members of the new hampshire national guard to discuss their best practices, the way in which they're working together in new hampshire to address domestic violence and sexual assault. as the result of some of those discussions, we have included in the bill a reform that would require the defense department to incorporate civilian sexual assault investigation and prosecution best practices into their military procedures. i want to close this afternoon
by thanking chairman levin and ranking member inhofe for their leadership on this bipartisan bill. we still have a lot of work to do here in the senate, but obviously the foundation has been laid by the work of the committee and by their leadership. i also want to thank my staff for their incredibly hard work and dedication, the staff of all of the armed services committee, because without their contributions we would not have made as much progress as we did. from the readiness subcommittee, jay ma roney and mike noblett on the majority side, lucia neimeyer and from my personal staff, josh lucas, joel colony and patrick day. and finally, i want to say a special thank you to commander tasha lacy. tasha is a graduate of the naval
academy and served in my office over the past year as a fellow on loan from the department of navy. her thoughtfulness and insight has been invaluable on a wide range of issues, especially during our efforts to address sexual assault. she's headed back to the navy soon but i wanted her to know that it truly has been a pleasure having her on my staff, and i wish her good luck in her next assignment. thank you very much, mr. president. i hope we can come together in the next couple of days and get this bill done. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
ms. klobuchar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. klobuchar: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent -- ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, i'm very pleased to be here on the senate floor with my friend and colleague from minnesota, senator klobuchar, as we introduce an important resolution. this month, mr. president, is national alzheimer's awareness month. alzheimer's is a terrible disease that exacts a tremendous personal and economic toll on both the individual and the
family. like many families, mine has experienced the pain of alzheimer's. i know that there is no more helpless feeling than to watch the progression of this devastating disease. it is equally painful to witness the emotional and physical damage inflicted on family caregivers exhausted by an endless series of 36-hour days. moreover, alzheimer's is the only cause of death among the top ten in our nation without a way to prevent it, to cure it, or even to slow its progression. more than five million americans have alzheimer's disease, more than double the number in 1980. based on current projections, as
many as 16 million americans over the age 65 will have alzheimer's by the year 2050. in addition to the tremendous human suffering it causes, alzheimer's costs the united states more than $200 billion a year, including $142 billion in costs to the medicare and medicaid programs. this price tag, mr. president, will increase expo tensionally as the baby boomer generation ages. if we fail to change the current trajectory of alzheimer's disease, our country will not only face some mounting public health crisis but an economic one as well. if nothing is done to slow or
stop this disease, the alzheimer's association estimates that alzheimer's will cost our country an astonishing $20 trillion over the next 40 years. it is estimated that nearly one in two baby boomers reaching the age 85 will develop alzheimer's. as a consequence, chances are that the members of the baby-boom generation will either be spending their golden years suffering from alzheimer's or caring for someone who has it. in many ways, alzheimer's has become the defining disease of this generation. if we are to prevent alzheimer's from becoming the defining december of the next general --
defining disease of the next generation it is i am imperative increase our investment in alzheimer's research. according to a study done by the national institute on aging, alzheimer's and other dementias cost the united states more than cancer and heart disease. this study finds that both the costs and number of people with dementia will more than double within 30 years, skyrocketing at a rate that rarely occurs with a chronic disease. at a time when the cost to medicare and medicaid, of caring for alzheimer's patients exceeds $140 billion a year. we're spending only slightly more than $500 million on alzheimer's research. spending $142 billion under
medicare and medicaid, more than $200 billion overall, and yet only $500 million on research. we currently spend $6 billion a year for cancer research, $3 billion a year for research on hiv-aids, and $2 billion for cardiovascular research. and i want to emphasize that those are all worthy investments, investments that have paid dividends in terms of better treatments, cures in some cases, prolonged lives in others. surely we can do more for alzheimer's given the tremendous human and economic price of this devastating disease. the national plan to address alzheimer's disease was authorized by bipartisan law
passed in 2010, the national alzheimer's project act, which i authored with then-senator evan bayh. the national plan has as its primary goal to prevent and effectively treat alzheimer's by the year 2025. the chairman of the advisory council on alzheimer's research, care and services, which was created by the national alzheimer's project act, has testified before congress that the united states must devote at least $2 billion a year to alzheimer's research to achieve that goal. i'm, therefore, joining with my colleague from minnesota, senator klobuchar, in introducing this resolution declaring that the goal of
preventing and effectively treating alzheimer's by 2025 is an urgent national priority. our resolution recognizes that dramatic increases in research funding are necessary to meet that goal and resolves that the senate will strive to double the amount of funding that the united states spends on alzheimer's research in fiscal year 2015 and then develop a plan to meet the target of $2 billion a year over the next five years. just think of the figures here, mr. president. we're spending some $212 billion a year treating, caring for people with alzheimer's. all we're asking is that over the next five years, we achieve the goal that the alzheimer's
council, a council of experts in alzheimer's, including experts from the mayo clinic in senator klobuchar's home state, have recommended that we spend $2 billion. $2 billion is such a tiny percentage of the amount that we're spending. so this is a worthy investment. it's one that will not only relieve suffering, save lives potentially but it will also more than pay for itself. thank you, mr. president. i would urge our colleagues to join us as cosponsors. i would also ask unanimous consent that letters from the alzheimer's association and the us against alzheimer's group, both the predominant national advocacy groups, endorsing our
resolution be included in the record at the conclusion of my statement. thank you, mr. president. i'm very pleased that my colleague, senator klobuchar, who has been such a leader in this area, has joined me on the senate floor, and i would yield the floor to her. ms. klobuchar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: well, i first would like to thank my colleague, senator collins, for her great leadership for so long on this issue. we have together authored this resolution, and she has been a true champion of those suffering from this debilitating disease. our resolution builds on the legacy of work and research that has been done in america. it declares the prevention and effective treatment of alzheimer's by 2025 an urgent national priority and calls for enhanced resources necessary to achieve this goal. and there is no better time than now to discuss this critical
issue and draw attention to this disease because, as my colleague from maine noted, november is alzheimer's disease awareness and family caregivers month. president reagan made this designation back in 1983 to raise awareness about the devastating impacts of alzheimer's disease on patients and their caregivers. alzheimer's presents one of the toughest medical, economic and social challenges of this country. we all know we're seeing a doubling of the senior population in this country. some call it a silver tsunami. of course, it's a positive. more and more people are living longer and longer. but we also know that we are seeing more and more people who are living with very difficult diseases, and one of them -- in fact the leading one is alzheimer's. this disease takes an incredibly enormous toll, both on patients as well as those who must sit hopelessly by and watch as the disease progresses and slowly takes away a loved one.
right now, close to 5.2 million americans are living with this disease, including nearly 100,000 people in my home state of minnesota. these numbers will grow dramatically. if we continue on the same trajectory that we are on now, by 2050, an estimated 16 million americans will be living with this disease. that is an increase, mr. president, of almost 320% over what we see today. 320% over what we see today. the financial cost of providing care for people afflicted by the disease is staggering, for families, for our health care system and of course for the federal budget. in 2013, we will spend $203 billion caring for individuals with alzheimer's. medicare and medicaid will bear about 70% of these costs. by 2050, we will be paying more than $1.2 trillion to care for people with alzheimer's.
we also know that it's tough on caregivers. they suffer an emotional and physical toll that results in a higher incidence of chronic conditions themselves. in 2012, more than 15 million family members, spouses, children and friends in the united states provided care to an adult with alzheimer's. the unpaid care is valued at more than $216 billion. so many of the people, friends of mine, who are involved in this care also have their own children. that's why we all them the sandwich generation. they are literally sandwiched in between caring for their aging parents and caring for a child. just as the country addressed the needs of working moms and dads in the 1970's, we must now address the needs of working sons and daughters. this is a critical piece of the puzzle in taking on the alzheimer's challenge. most importantly, our resolution is about the lives that could be improved with better treatments and cures.
earlier this year, i met with 30 minnesotans who were here in washington, d.c., each having been touched by alzheimer's. i have been at rallies. i have seen those purple shirts in our state, thousands and thousands of people gathered to say we want to cure, we want better treatment, we don't want to lose our loved ones like this. one way we can help stem the tide of this devastating disease is through research. as my colleague from maine mentioned, the mayo clinic does fine research in these areas. they have found ways to identify alzheimer's earlier through testing. at first you might say well, how does that help to get a cure? how are we ever going to know what treatments work best and what a cure is if we can't first identify it at early stages so then we can see improvements? because if we identify it too late, you're never able to test to see if treatments work. university of minnesota also is doing outstanding research on mice, prize-winning research. here's the fact of any of these
numbers. we all remember this isn't just about the numbers. it's about the people. but if there is any number to remember, it is this -- if we were able to delay the onset of alzheimer's by just five years, five years, we would be able to cut the government spending on alzheimer's care by almost half in 2050, almost half. i see senator durbin, also a leader in this area, the senator from illinois, out on the floor. he knows what we're talking about with the budget. the kind of money we're going to need to help our kids, to make our country a better place. just think of what we could do with that money, if we could reduce the spending on this debilitating disease by half by 2050. the answers on alzheimer's won't just drop from the sky. it will take dedicated scientists, advanced research initiatives and skilled doctors to conduct the trials and care for as many patients as possible until we finally put an end to the disease. that's what this is about. a friend of mine is in town
today, commissioner mike opeck from hennepin county. hennepin county is the biggest public hospital in minnesota. as county attorney, i used to represent that hospital. i know what this means for their budget every single day as people who could have been cured or people who could have had the onset of this disease be delayed have suffered and have been in the hospital and have been on the taxpayer dime. of course we're going to take care of them, but so many other things could this money be used for. the advisory council on alzheimer's research care and services, which is led by dr. ronald peterson, a minnesotan and a leading researcher on alzheimer's, has acknowledged that in order to reach the bowl of effectively treating alzheimer's disease by 2025, our country must invest $2 billion per year. it sounds like a lot of money, but not with these other figures i just put out there, right, at $1.2 trillion in treatment, doubling of the number of seniors that were seen by 2030.
$2 billion per year. that's why senator collins and i have joined together to introduce this resolution which resolves that the senate will strive to double the funding the united states spends on alzheimer's research in 2015 and develop a plan to meet the target of $2 billion a year over the next five years. today, we spend approximately $500 million per year on alzheimer's as noted by my colleague, so we have a long way to go to meet this goal. it is not easy, but in the long term, it will save us money, it will save lives, and it will make for a better world for literally millions of people in this country and around the world. i urge my colleagues to join senator collins and me in supporting this important resolution. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, i want to thank my colleagues, senator collins of maine, senator klobuchar of minnesota, for bringing this issue of alzheimer's before the senate for consideration with this resolution, and i ask unanimous
consent to be added as a cosponsor to the resolution that they have introduced. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i might also add that yesterday, i introduced a resolution on the same subject and was happy to have senator collins as a cosponsor, along with several other colleagues who have joined me. they include senators mikulski, tim johnson, menendez, wicker, moran and markey. the goal -- i won't go through all of the important statistics that have been related during this floor presentation by my colleagues, but our goal is to make sure that the national plan which is being developed to address alzheimer's is carried out. we want to reinforce the initial steps toward greater investment and finding answers. i think everyone is on that same track. we believe that supporting the goals and implementation of the national alzheimer's project act and the national plan to address alzheimer's disease is the right course to follow. achieving these goals means federal funding must be there to
implement it. i urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan resolution and reinforce our national commitment to turning around the seeming inevitability of this terrible, terrible disease. i look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure investments are made in alzheimer's research. and, mr. president, let me just say parenthetically, if you think that we can sequester funds for the national institutes of health and honestly deal with the challenge of alzheimer's, you're wrong. you can't cut funding at the national institutes of health in the name of sequestration. cutting grants that could find breakthrough cures for many diseases, you can't cut those funds and discourage researchers from even participating in future research and expect to solve the medical challenges that face us, including alzheimer's. i am urging my colleagues to look at this not as just a matter of resolutions, which are
important, but also funding, which is critical, so that we can find the solutions to these problems in a -- in a manner that is reasonable and quickly done. mr. president, i want to -- before i give a statement on another topic, i would like to know that we continue to focus on the damage that was caused last sunday by deadly tornadoes and storms in illinois, estimated to have exceeded a billion dollars in cost. we have seen some scenes from that wreckage in places like washington, illinois, the hardest hit in our state. they experienced an ef-4 tornado. wind speeds close to 200 miles an hour. i can recall one news report where a man went home and couldn't find his s.u.v., an indication of the ferocity and intensity of the winds that wiped a swath of devastation through this great town in central illinois. power lines are still down and
there are gas leaks. there is still danger there, but the first responders were there. the obvious helpers, red cross and salvation army are on the scene. federal, state and local agencies are pitching in. and equally important, i spoke to the mayor. the people are pitching in. those who survived it are helping those who have had the most damage. finding them a place to sleep, making sure they have enough to eat, trying to put their lives back together and go through the salvage and recover the important things to their families. the ef-4 that tore through washington was one of two that touched down in my state that day. the other was struck numenden down near the east st. louis area. it caused unbelievable damage. 84 tornadoes were reported throughout the area on sunday. we know more about the people whose lives were lost in this terrible event. three died in deep southern illinois. kathy george, 58 years old, a
devoted wife and mother. robert harmon, an avid motorcyclist. scalida burse, who was excited to visit her son for thanksgiving. in washington county, brother and sister joseph and frances hoye, died in the tornado. they died on a farmer in new menden. in it. aswell county, tv neubauer of washington. he was a mechanic and often helped his neighbors repair their tractors and lawnmowers. my thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends. it's bad enough to lose your home, but to lose someone you love, it is just irreplaceable. we want them to know that we're thinking of them at this moment. there is a lot more to do. we have to pitch in and help the communities that have been so heavily hit. i said before and i'll say again, there are certain things that come through these disasters that are inspiring. i know a year from now, we'll go back to these neighborhoods and
marvel at the progress that has been made as people rebuild their homes and their lives and their playgrounds and their churches and their schools. they don't quit, they don't give up. and secondly, we will have a litany of examples of people who reached out and helped others in a selfless, caring, compassionate way. as i said, it's not unique to illinois, not unique to the midwest, maybe not even unique to america, but each time we go through one of these tests, it warms your heart to know that people do respond to help one another. we're going to keep in touch with the governor, provide the assistance on a bipartisan basis that will help these communities and families get their lives back together. now, mr. president, i ask consent that the following statement be placed in a separate part in the record from my previous statements. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, you know better than most what it means for someone to enter our military, to raise their hand and take an oath and in service of the united states. it is the giving of their time
and their lives, equally important, they are risking their lives. they know they they can be called on in that capacity to defend this country. they can be injured and lose their lives in defense of this nation but they still do it and many have on a voluntary and selfless basis. for most of them they view the threats as the enemy that is going to attack the united states or their units, but we've come to lirn that there are other enemies within the military which are equally troublesome and worrisome. it is one thing to have a son or a daughter or someone you love very much take an oath to serve in the military and run the risk of a dangerous encounter with an enemy but it is absolutely unacceptable to think that these men and women in the military would run the risk of a dangerous attack by someone else in the military on them. i'm speaking to the issue of sexual assault. it's one which is topical
because we have finally, finally started to come to grips with the reality of what it means. our responsibility is to ensure the men and women in the military have everything they need. sexual assault threatens it. it erodes the basic trust, respect and professionalism that our troops uphold and rely on to perform their duties. in a more fundamental sense it also cuts to the heart of basic questions of safety, dignity, and justice as americans. however we measure it, the current system has failed our service members. the evidence is overwhelming. 26,000 total incidents that have been estimated occurred of sexual assault in the military in a recent year. only 3,400 reports were made from victims. the institute of medicine estimates 21.5% of active duty women and literally thousands of active duty men have been
sexually assaulted. we know 60% of the victims who do report these sexual assaults say they are retaliated against for doing so. 60%. overwhelming majorities of victims say they often don't report an incident because they don't think it will make any difference. it is a sweeping and comprehensive indictment of the current system. i have a responsibility as chairman of the defense appropriations committee to work more closely with members of the military and their leaders than ever before. i've come to know them, to like them, to respect them. and when they tell me as they all have to a person that they are doing everything conceivable to deal with this problem, i believe them. but i also believe that there are elements within the culture of some parts of our military which are almost intractable and have to be dealt with in a new and more definitive way. let me share one example that came to light recently. i attended a freedom salute
ceremony for an illinois national guard unit that recently returned from theater gateaway operations in kuwait. they'd been gone a year. it was a small unit, fewer than 20, but they came home and their families were with them at camp lincoln in springfield, illinois. be this unit was in charge of transportation making sure 100,000 service members who came through that theater had what they needed to make it to their next destination and ultimately back home. some of these people were being redeployed, don't get me wrong but many were headed home. among the service members i heard from these members of this unit, among the service members they helped move through this hub was a young woman who had been sexually assaulted somewhere in the region. theirs wasn't the first stop. the first stop for 23 this sexual assault victim was a barracks situation where she literally had to walk through the men's rest room facilities
to go to the women's rest room facilities. this is a victim of sexual assault. she told us, the person i spoke 0 in the unit that this victim said to her that these were the first sympathetic faces that she had seen or worked with since this terrible incident and she was grateful for this illinois guard unit for standing by her in this emotionally trying time. i was happy to hear this guard unit disepped up to give this young woman the help she needed but it is inexcusable, in fact, it's shameful that the rest of the system failed her. it is a story repeated too many times across the services. this current system has to change and it will. i want to thank for their extraordinary advocacy senator claire mccaskill of missouri, senator kirsten gillibrand of washington and patty murray of and many, many others. they have put into the pending bill many effective and
necessary reforms. i supported them and i appreciate chairman levin and ranking member senator inhofe for including 26 reforms in the underlying defense authorization bill. i want to highlight one reform in particular that i played a small part in, the special victims counsels. i want to highlight this reform because victims need and deserve someone in their corner helping them through what is probably one of the toughest moments of their lives. in testimony earlier this year in the defense authorization committee which i chair, the head of the air force talked about how effective this pilot program of special victims counsels has been. the bill that is pending before us would expand their services and my subcommittee's appropriation mark, spending mark ensures that it will be fully funded. the bill's other reforms are equally powerful, improving prevention, holding leaders accountable for the debt limit in the military on this issue,
reforming the military justice code. on these reforms there is strong bipartisan agreement. many of these reforms including the one that we may vote on before we leave this week are thanks to the leadership of senator claire mccaskill. she has been relentless in her efforts to lead on this important issue. and today is no different. she has an amendment which she offered which empowers the victims of sexual assault to have a greater voice in how their case is prosecuted. it would require commanders to take sexual assault into account and eliminate the good soldier defense by which they consider the defendant's overall value to the unit. i appreciate senator mccaskill's leadership on this issue and i think that her amendment is a positive up with. the crux is whether the senate pushes this reform even further. senator kirsten gillibrand of
new york offers an amendment to give slicts victs greater confidence that the military justice system is free from bias by giving the decision to a senior judge advocate general outside the chain of command. however, we come down on this proposal we all know this would be a significant change for our military justice code that has only undergone two significant changes since 1950 but i believe we must go forward with the gillibrand proposal and i will vote in favor of her proposal. i didn't come to this decision lightly. i've discussed this issue with my colleagues in the senate as well as every single military leader that they have recommended i meet with. i've met with them publicly and privately, i've listened carefully and i've called the victims to hear their side as well. i considered the views of outside experts as well as my colleagues. many of my colleagues have served in the military and they have personal insights.
after much deliberation i've concluded that every single one of these reforms including senator gillibrand's proposal is going to be necessary if we are to give victims the confidence and support they need to come forward. i would also note that senator gillibrand's effort is endorsed by a diverse and thoughtful range of outside groups. they include the national women's law center, the vietnam veterans of america, the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, the defense advisory committee on women in the services and the service women's action network. mr. president, i know our senior military leaders are committed to cracking down on sexual assault. many commanders around the world are just as outraged as congress and just as committed to prosecuting phonedders and setting a new tone in the military but it is congress' role to ensure that the system those leaders implement is fair and reasonable. it must put the victims of assault back in control and the perpetrators of these crimes on notice.
minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. i am back again for the now 51st consecutive week that congress has been -- the senate has been in session to urge congress to wake up to the effects of carbon pollution on the earth, and i'll here today to talk about how climate change is taking its toll on an important part of our way of life. some of our long-cherished american pastimes that we do in the great outdoors. new england, for example -- and the distinguished senator from connecticut is very familiar with this. we have fond memories of ski trips in vermont, of ice hockey on frozen ponds in new hampshire, of fishing trips off the coast of rhode island. all of these activities are fun, they are fulfilling, and they leave us with indelible memories of the wonders of our natural world. but climate change is putting much of that at risk.
"the new york times" reported that declining snowfall and unseasonably warm weather were a drag on winter sports and recreational tourism during the 2011-2012 winter. before the end of the century, they report, the number of economically viable ski locations in new hampshire and maine will be cut in half -- in half. skiing in new york will be cut by three-quarters. and i'm sorry to say to the presiding officer from the great state of connecticut that there will be no ski area left in connecticut or massachusetts. and i assume from the report that that means rhode island as well, because rhode islanders have been skiing our beloved yagu ski valley since the 1960's. as drought and increasing temperatures reduce the snow pack in the cascade range and the rocky mountains, the future
of ski and snowboarding there is also at risk. the park city foundation in utah predicts an annual local tefn increase -- temperature increase of 6.8 degrees fahrenheit by 2025 which cay cause a total loss of snow pack in the lower resort area. beyond the loss to the ski tradition in park city, the report estimates that this will result in thousands of lost jobs, tens of millions in lost earnings, and hunk hundreds of millions in lost economic output. no part of the country will be immune from these changes our imponincarbon pollution is driv. extremely warm days in the southeast is on the rise. ice on the great lakes is forminforming later and disappeg earlier.
wildfire seasons are getting worse in the west where the snow pack is melting earlier. sea level rise threatens hawaii's famed beaches, and warming in alaska is degrading the permafrost that entire communities are actually built on. climate change has already changed rainfall patterns and can load the dice for bad weather conditions like heat waves. the this past summer a heat wave prompted the kenosha public schools in wisconsin to cancel all outdoor student practices and sporting events. the district stated on its web site, "keeping the best interests of the athletes in mind, we are canceling, rescheduling all contests today." according to "the denver post," this past spring a prolonged drought forced the denver parks and recreation to postpone opening of the grass sports fields for soccer and la crosse,
which kept thousands of children and adults from starting their athletic s see seasons. the air is just not fit to breathe. ground level ozone commonly known as smog forms more quickly during hot, sun nye kne sunny dz causing asthma attacks and even hospitalizations. in august i met with two rhode island kids -- nick friend, a 15-year-old from east frof dense, and kenatta richards from warwick. they have as mavment they have . they have to stay indoors and avoid being too active on bad-air days. we've had six bad-air days from ozone this year in rhode island. that is six days when rhode islanders like nick and kenatta can't enjoy the outdoor activities that are so much a
part of our american childhoods. the effects of climate change aren't limited to hotter days and smog. oceans are warming, ice is melting, and sea levels are rising. this puts coastal infrastructure like dams and bridges and coastal power plants at rick. but it also threatens many of our most beloved and expensive palaces of sport. as far back as 2007 sports illustrated ran a special issue on sports and global warming. "scientists project up to a one meter increase in sea level by 21 00," warned one article, "which will alter the shape of the land in low-lying regions of the u.s., including san francisco bay and south florida and swamp well-known sports
venues." places like the american airlines arena and sunlife stadium in miami, and at&t park in san francisco are at risk. as congress sleepwalks through history, blind to the harmful effects of carbon pollution, responsible groups are acting, including our major professional sports lesion. sports -- sports leagues -- nba, mlb, nhl, nfl, they're letters that almost every american knows. these are cultural institutions. they're also big business with annual revenues in billions of dollars. they take the threat of post-ponked games and -- of postponed games and washed-out stadiums serious lymph the bicam
ram task force on climate change which i started to keep attention o focused on climate change, we asked the national basketball association, major league baseball, national hockey league, and the national football league as well as the united states olympic committee to tell us what climate change means for their sports. each of these organizations is awake to the dangers of carbon pollution, and each is acting. baseball commissioner bud sell eyeing wrote, "i've often said that baseball is a social institution and to that end we recognize our responsibility to be part of the national effort to preserve our environment. and that is why mlb, major league baseball, and many of our major league clubs have adopted practices that have resulted in clean energy-efficient ballparks and environmentally friendly
baseball events." one of those practices is the partial offset of the energy used at all thal-star game events including fan fest, the home run derby and the all-star game. by green, ecertified, renewable energy credits including wind and solar energ energy." on the hockey front, nhl deputy cometioner william daily wrote, "hockey's relationship with the environment is unique. our sport was born on frozen ponds where to this day players of all ages and skill levels learn to skate. for this magnificent tradition to continue, it is imperative that we recognize the importance of maintaining the environment." end quote. the nhl has partnered with energy star and the natural resources defense council to make its own resources more energy-efficient and it has called on the u.s. government to develop a nationwide retrofit strategy to help upgrade
buildings such as ice rinks and to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. kathy barons, executive vice president of social pront responsibility and player programs at the nba told us this, "while professional nba games are played inside climate-controlled arenas, most basketball around the world is played outdoors. with air pollution, extreme heat, and other forms of climate disruption make it difficult to enjoy or attend our games and of much concern actually threatens the health and safety of basketball players and business partners. that matters greatly to the nba. pro basketball is working to reduce carbon emissions. a number of arenas have achieved lead certifications and some
have installed on-site solar panels. the nba has also come out in support of standards to reduce carbon pollution from electric power plants, which is a cornerstone of president obama's recently announced climate action plan." on the football front, adolfo birch iii, for the nfl wrote us, "20 years ago the nfl became the first professional sports organization formally to address the environmental impact of our marquee events -- super bowl and probowl. the program to reduce overall greenhouse emissions has resulted in the planting of more than 50,000 trees in the super bowl host communities. the national football league estimates that the 2013 super bowl in new orleans achieved a reduction of nearly 24,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, or
the equivalent of 8,000 american homes energy use for an entire year. the u.s. olympic committee has already joined in the fight to reduce harpful carbon pollution. according to usoc c.e.o. scott blackman, the green ring program aims to mitigate the usoc and our athletes' impact on the environment. through a number of sustainability effort efforts, a that is a passion for many of our athletes. we hope to contribute to sustainability while using our platform to educate and inspire our constituents to do the same. our focus is more action, less carbon." end quote. other international bodies have also launched aggressive plans to fight climate change. the 2014 soccer world cup in bra skill is aiming -- in brazil is aiming to be carbon neutral by
offsetting the carbon dioxide estimated to be generated by this year's federation tournament and the world cup next year. our major sport sports leagues s join a great league amassing on the side of climate action. virtually every major scientific body -- the insurance and reinsurance industry, the joint chiefs of staff, the national academies, nasa, and the government accountability office, the u.s. conference of catholic bishops, leading american and international corporations, and the american public health association -- to them and many others who are all in this fight, we can add our friends in the world of sport: major league baseball, the national basketball association, the national hockey league, the national football league, and
the united states olympic committee. there is a growing chorus of voices from every sector of american society calling for action. and, indeed, there is work to be done. the major sports organizations are doing their part because they know that few things define american society like the teams we cheer and the games we play. but we here in congress need to wake up and join the fight. it is time to set aside the partisan nonsense and the polluter-fueled fantasies and at least take real steps to reduce our carbon pollution and preserve our distinctly american way of life. i yield the floor.
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i had aide ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr -- mr. casey: i think preliminary i know there may be a republican member who may come to the floor. if that's the case we can juggle our time as need be. mr. president, i rise tonight to talk about the matter that's before us, which is the national defense authorization act. i don't think we have to make any fulsome argument tonight that it's very important we pass this authorization act for the fundamental purpose being that we have to make sure that we can
at a minimum complete action in the very near future on authorizing a whole range of programs that keep our people safe and ensure our national security. i'm confident we'll do that, but that's vitally important. and i rise tonight to talk about one aspect of that challenge, which is -- and again, it's just one part of our national security interest but it relates specifically to what's been happening in afghanistan over the last decade, in particular, to women and girls in afghanistan. the amendment that i have introduced and will be speaking on behalf of tonight is amendment number 2172, which regards the security of afghan women and girls. for the past 12 years the united
states service members have been deployed in afghanistan, fighting the insurgency there. their sacrifices, the sacrifice of our own people, have created the space for afghan democracy to take root and for civil society to develop. it's imperative that we draw down -- that as we draw down, u.s. combat troops in afghanistan, that we remain focused on the united states long-term strategic interest in the region. it's in the united states national security interests for afghanistan to remain stable, secure, and democratic. we've seen what life -- we've seen it from a distance, but we've been able to observe what life under the taliban looks like in afghanistan today and over -- or i should say when the taliban were in charge.
and we also can see with the perspective of recent history what it looked like since the taliban were removed. a return to their rule, however, will not only setback the progress that's been made but also will allow the forces of intolerance and extremism to triumph. 2014 marks a significant transition in afghanistan. u.s. and coalition forces will draw down while voters will go to the polls to choose their second democratically elected president. we're considering this year's national defense authorization act with just six weeks remaining before the beginning of 2014. our military families are welcoming back soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have seen more than a decade of conflict in afghanistan. mr. president, when i meet, as i
know the presiding officer and other members of the senate do, when we meet with service members who served in afghanistan, i must never forget, as none of us must never forget, their sacrifice, their determination and their valor. since october of 2001, americans have fought for a stable, prosperous and democratic afghanistan. on my trips to afghanistan, which i guess now numbers three -- three trips there -- i've come to understand that women and girls often display remarkable, remarkable courage but are often the most vulnerable targets. great progress has been made, and i'll just mention a couple of examples. about a decade ago almost no girls were in school in afghanistan. very close to if not at zero.
the number of afghan girls in school now is 2.4 million girls in school. women represent more than 27% of afghans serving in parliament, a small but brave core of women has joined the afghan national security forces in service to their country. none of this would have been possible just a little more than a decade ago, 12 years ago. whenever i meet with them, afghan women emphasize that they are not willing, nor should they be willing to give up on the gains that they have achieved. they have achieved, with help from the american people. just yesterday i met with nilo farsaki who is working to promote women in the workforce. and hearing her commitment to advancing the role of women firsthand as i did yesterday further motivated me to introduce and advance this amendment. during my last trip to afghanistan, i met with fazio
kufi, an aspiring lawmaker and women's rights advocate. as a mother of two young daughters she has worked to instill the importance of education and to make sure that her daughters understand that. she now serves in a leadership role in the afghan parliament. i would also mention when we were meeting with her, she talked about how both her father and her husband had been killed because they were politically active. but even in the face of that, she has put herself forward to serve in public office in afghanistan. a third example, another brave woman showing the people of the world what it means to serve and to act even in the face of danger, soria poksod recently traveled to the united states
and visited not just the state of pennsylvania but the county i live in and impressed people as she always does. soria is a true entrepreneur and philanthropist. with u.s. government support she's opened autopsy -- opened up a women's shelter. that is just the beginning of what we can say about her service. we don't have enough time tonight to give you more examples, but soria has been a great example to me and so many others. these inspiring stories, just these three that i've talked about, are just a few of the many. but i am deeply concerned -- i know a lot of people are -- that we've already begun to see the progress on afghan women's rights and security be rolled back. mr. president, in an effort to honor the sacrifice the american people have made to help women and girls in afghanistan, i along with senator ayotte have introduced an amendment to this
authorization act to ensure that those gains are not degraded. again, the amendment is number 2172, and i'm grateful to senator ayotte for her work on this issue and for her leadership on this issue because we know, and i think the evidence is as clear as can be, that the security of afghan women and girls is not simply about their own security and the value and the importance of that. it's 0 critically important to the long-term future of the country. we know that if more women and girls are not just allowed to be educated, to go to school and to learn and to grow and to achieve, that in and of itself is an economic impact, a positive impact on that -- on a woman and her family but also on the economy of afghanistan. it's also, though, a question of
the steps we're going to take to ensure not just their own security but the security of the country. if they advance, if women and girls in afghanistan advance, afghanistan will be a safer place, literally have less of a terrorism threat because of the direct involvement of women in the economy and in the life of the people of afghanistan. so let me just quickly summarize what the amendment does. first, it focuses on political transition. afghanistan will hold, as i mentioned before, historic elections in april. as the country votes for president, a president that will help afghanistan transition from conflict, it's critical that women not be disenfranchised. therefore, this amendment seeks to ensure the adequate staffing of polling stations by female officers. second, the other part of the transition, of course, is the
security transition. this bill would also improve awareness and responsiveness among afghan national security forces, personnel regarding the unique challenges that women confront. it will also focus on the recruitment and retention of women in the afghan national security forces. it would be, to use just one word, unconscionable, to abandon the women and girls of afghanistan who have made great progress. but if we take steps that lead to the abandonment of women and girls in afghanistan during this transition, this drawdown, we would be making a terrible mistake. we would not honor the sacrifice of our own service men and women, and we would also be harming the important transition that's taking place in afghanistan. so this legislation would demonstrate not just our
commitment and dedication to this important goal, but it would also ensure a much brighter future not just for that young girl or a woman in afghanistan and her family, but will ensure literally a safer and more secure and a much less extreme situation in afghanistan when we consider all the threats that are present there on a daily basis. so i urge my colleagues to support in this authorization process amendment number 2172, and i again want to commend and salute the work of senator ayotte on this very important priority for the united states. mr. president, i would yield the floor. ms. ayotte: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague
from pennsylvania, senator casey, for his leadership on amendment 2172, which is very important. and i appreciate that what he just said on the floor, the cases of the bravery of afghan women, the leadership that they have shown under tremendously difficult circumstances and how the sacrifice that we have made to ensure that afghanistan and our men and women have made in uniform to ensure that afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists again. and one of the keys to that is that no society can be free, no society can have true safety and security unless the women in the society also have safety and security. and i want to thank senator casey for his leadership of ensuring and standing by for
afghan women, because we cannot succeed in afghanistan if women go back to what they endured under the taliban, which was horrific and was wrong. and none of us should accept. so he really has been a leader on this, and i thank senator casey for being so concerned about what will happen in afghanistan to make sure that it never becomes a haven for terrorists again but that women in afghanistan can live with security and women and girls can go to schools and that they can contribute to the afghan society to ensure that afghanistan can have free elections, to have afghanistan be a place where women will no longer be brought into soccer stadiums and
violated. and so i want to thank senator casey for this amendment and bringing it forward, and i'm very proud to cosponsor it. as senator casey talked about, what our amendment would do is would ensure that adequate staffing in polling stations by female officers when they have elections would improve the security of those stations to make sure that women can come forward and vote. increase the awareness and responsiveness among afghan national army and nasp police personnel regarding the unique challenges women confront when joining those forces. and, yes, women are now, some of them are joining the afghan forces to defend their nation. it would focus on improving the recruitment and retention of women in afghan security forces and it would ensure that as we
enter the bilateral security agreement, that d.o.d. will produce a strategy to promote the security of afghan women and girls. and so these issues are very, very important, and our men and women in uniform, i want to commend them for everything that they have done in afghanistan to prevent afghanistan from being a haven for terrorists to ensure that women and girls can live securely and won't be violated the way they were when the taliban were in charge of afghanistan in ways that the images that so many of us saw were just beyond the word outrageous. we -- we can't even describe the horrific way that women and girls were treated as worse than second-class citizens under the taliban. and so this amendment will
ensure what we all understand to be the bottom line, that no strategy in afghanistan can succeed if women are not an integral part of that strategy, if women aren't allowed to have the security, the dignity, the freedom that all people deserve. and so i want to thank senator casey again for his leadership, and i hope that my colleagues in the senate will adopt this amendment because last year when we had the defense authorization, the senate passed a similar provision by unanimous consent, and so i would hope today that my colleagues would do the same to pass the casey-ayotte amendment to promote the security of afghanistan women and girls as we look to the bilateral security agreement, as we look to working with our coalition partners, as we are drawing down
in afghanistan, we will not leave the afghanistan women and girls behind, and we will ensure that afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists again. so i thank you, senator casey, and i want to thank you, mr. president, for allowing me to speak on this very important issue. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: mr. president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent to engage in a colloquy with senator wyden of oregon for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, to start, i just want to pay tribute to my two colleagues, senator casey and senator ayotte for their focus on human rights and particularly the rights of women wherever those women may live. i rise tonight to talk about the rights that are enshrined in our bill of rights. to that particular key concern of americans, i want to talk about the importance of reforming our domestic surveillance laws.
and we, senator wyden and i, as we both enter this discussion, we have one general goal in mind and that is to find the proper balance of keeping our nation safe from terrorism while still protecting our cherished constitutional rights. senator wyden and i are both members of the senate intelligence committee, and we have argued for years that the government's domestic surveillance authorities need to be narrowed, and we're going to keep leading this fight in the days and weeks and months to come. as a part of this ongoing effort, we recently introduced comprehensive bipartisan legislation that would end the n.s.a.'s collection of millions of innocent americans' private phone records, shield americans from warrantless searches of their communications and install a constitutional advocate at the foreign intelligence surveillance court. we believe that overly intrusive domestic surveillance programs, misleading statements made by senior intelligence officials and revelations about how secret
courts have handed down secret rulings on secret law have eroded the trust and confidence of the american people. mr. president, simply put, we need to restore this trust. and the best way to do that is to carve out time and hold a vigorous and substantive debate here on the senate floor, a debate the american people have demanded and they deserve. mr. president, senator leahy, the chairman of the judiciary committee, introduced his own comprehensive reform proposal last month with representative sensenbrenner. representative sensenbrenner is a key figure in all this because he was the original author of the patriot act. he has had concerns. he's joined forces with senator leahy. and this bipartisan plan, the leahy-sensenbrenner plan, includes many of the proposals that senator wyden and i have long called for, and we are
proud to support this effort. mr. president, let me be clear. this issue, it's not going away. it's not going to go away because more and more americans and more and more of our colleagues are coming to understand the true overreach of our nation's surveillance programs and the effect on americans' privacy. this issue's not going to go away because we're not going to stop shining a light on a potential for future abuse that comes with our government secret interpretation of its authorities under the foreign intelligence surveillance act. and i truly believe, mr. president, i really do that ultimately our efforts, the efforts of senator wyden, chairman leahy, representative sensenbrenner, senator paul, senator blumenthal, the presiding officer and myself and a growing number of others will lead to a majority of this congress acting in commonsense ways to protect the privacy of americans. now, mr. president, we're here today on the floor in the midst
of a consideration of a very critical piece of legislation for our national security, for the well-being of our men and women in uniform, the defense authorization act. i'm a member of the armed services committee. i had the great privilege of chairing the subcommittee on strategic forces. i know as well as anyone this is a must-pass bill. and the issues that we have debated here this week related to guantanamo bay and a scourge of sexual assault in our military are matters that rightfully demand significant and thoughtful time here on the senate floor. and while i think senator wyden and i would agree that this week's debate on the national defense authorization act is not the right time for a full, comprehensive debate on surveillance reform, i do believe it is the right time to begin that conversation. senator wyden has introduced a smart pro transparency, pro accountability amendment, and that amendment is the right place to start. his amendment is based on the
work we have been doing for a number of years now, and that's why i am a proud cosponsor and a strong supporter. this amendment would increase the transparency of domestic surveillance programs, and i think it should have and i know it will have broad support in this body. i'm going to let senator wyden speak more extensively about our amendment, which, by the way, we also have introduced with the chair of the appropriations committee, senator mikulski. but i want to just say again this is the perfect way to begin and frame what will become a more fulsome debate over the next few months. we're going to demand that we have this debate because coloradans and oregonians and americans across our country demand that we have that debate. with that, i'd like to turn to my friend and colleague, senator wyden, for his thoughts. mr. wyden: thank you, senator udall, and thank you for your exceptional leadership in our effort to put together a comprehensive, bipartisan reform bill, and i also want to thank the distinguished president of
the senate, the distinguished senator from connecticut, because as we all know, he has really been the ringleader in the effort to ensure that when there are arguments, major constitutional arguments put in front of the fisa a court, that there is -- fisa court, that there is somebody there to make the case for the other side. so i'm very pleased that for purposes of this colloquy, when we discuss the transparency amendment that we have filed today with senator mikulski that we have senator blumenthal in the chair because he has been an integral part of the reform effort. i also appreciate what the distinguished senator from colorado has said about chairman leahy. we have had a real partnership with him on working on these issues for a long, long time. we were thrilled that chairman leahy went on our bill, and we went on his bill because it illustrates the need to try to
make common cause around these issues, and as the senator from colorado has said, we're talking about bipartisan approaches here that do help promote reform agenda. and as the senator from colorado noted, it would be pretty hard to have a full debate on this legislation about surveillance reform, and suffice it to say there are differing views here in the united states senate with respect to surveillance. the senator from colorado and i support a comprehensive overhaul, particularly as it relates to the collection of millions and millions of phone records on law-abiding americans. it has come to be known as met metadata. we have supported restrictions
on that for law-abiding americans that have their privacy intruded upon. but having sat right next to the distinguished chair of the appropriations committee for many years on the intelligence committee, and i think my friend from colorado sits on the other side, we have heard senator mikulski speak eloquently about the need for transparency, transparency and accountability, and my view is this is something that can bring together all senators around what really is a jump-start to the later debates about intelligence reforms. so senator udall and i with the support of the chair of the appropriations committee, senator mikulski, have put together an amendment, we filed it today, on this legislation that takes important steps forward with respect to transparency. the amendment we have offered requires the executive branch answer some of the major
unanswered questions about domestic surveillance authorities, and it would require that future court opinions that find that domestic surveillance activities have violated the law or the constitution ought to be made public. they ought to be made public to the american people. and we also recommend they be made public, and if there is some aspect of that that should be held back, that is called a redaction, so be it. under our proposal, the executive branch would have the authority again to make sure that no details about secret intelligence methods or operations were in any way divulged as part of this transparency effort. but while we feel strongly about protecting secret operations, we do not believe in secret law. the american people ought to always be able to find out what the government and government
officials think the law actually means. to use a basketball analogy, and folks at home know that i'm always fond of those, parts of the play book for combating terrorism will often need to be secret, but the rule book that our government follows should always be public. so this amendment presents a chance for senators who may have differing views about surveillance policy to rally together behind the cause of greater transparency. i'd also like to note at this time senator mikulski has filed an additional amendment that the senator from colorado and i have cosponsored. it would make the director of the n.s.a. a senate confirmed position. this is a reform that senator mikulski has been advocating for years. and i think this, too, allows us to have a more vigorous and more open debate about these issues.
and the reality is, mr. president, the thousands and thousands of americans who work in the intelligence field honor our nation day in and day out with their dedication and their commitment to the security of our country, but as the senator from colorado has noted, too often in the past, too often the leadership of the intelligence community has said one thing in private and another in public, and if our amendment that we put together with senator mikulski passes, there would be a new focus on transparency, and i think creates some very serious obstacles to those who might want to engage in the kind of deceptions that the senator from colorado noted and we've seen in our hearings. i'd like to yield back and we'll wrap up our colloquy here shortly.
mr. udall: again, i want to thank senator wyden for his leadership and for taking the time to join me here on the floor. as the senator pointed out, we have got a broad coalition across both parties and across the political spectrum. we also acknowledge that passing the defense authorization act is crucial. we have got to keep our military strong in the face of limited resources and a security environment that's rapidly changing. that's why we're not offering a comprehensive bill today. but we're going to be back. we want to have a fulsome debate. this is a matter that my constituents have demanded that we address, and we're going to work to make this happen. i, again, want to ask my colleague for any further thoughts he might have on this very important matter because the bill of rights is our biggest, baddest weapon, and when we stand with the bill of rights, we can't go wrong. mr. wyden: i thank my colleague. first, let me just mention in closing that this bill is directly relevant to work done
at the department of defense as the n.s.a. is an integral part of the department of defense. in fact, this bill already contains half a dozen provisions that affect the n.s.a. in one way or another, so it has been our view that this amendment is clearly germane to the bill. it also directs the comptroller general to conduct an assessment of the economic impact of recently disclosed surveillance programs. the fact of the matter is that surveillance policy doesn't just affect foreign relations, although clearly it does affect our foreign relations. we see practically every day accounts of how our allies are concerned about their relations with us because of questions with respect to whether the privacy of their citizens are affected. so when you're talking about allies, you're talking a